Let them eat Kaká

I would produce vibes of ranklement whenever I saw cookery broadcaster Merrilees Parker inside the television cutting bread. Ms Parker’s technique, I observed, was to grab a loaf of bread by the scruff of the neck and take a slice from its middle. I decided that this was a foolish way of going about things. Now I look back on it, however, I can see the ingeniousness in what she was doing.

I had grown up to believe that the proper thing to do was to slice off the end of a loaf of bread, and use that as a kind of lid as the slicing point moves along the loaf. With relatively regular loaves, this works adequately well enough, but even then the ends are often smaller. With ethnic ciabatta things like what Ms Parker used, my primitive hobbling falls to pieces. Take slices from the centre – after the initial slice, you would take one from each half of the loaf, alternating – and the “lid” will continue to be the right size, so that only a minimum of inner non-crust is exposed to the moisture-slurping air.

Francis Galton was some kind of clever man from a long time ago, responsible for so much dozing in the face of squared paper. Today a chap pointed out a thing that Sir Galton did in 1906, about the optimum way of cutting “circular” cake. In 1906, society must have been rather primitive, because it’s not the most breathtaking idea, but I will give Galton respect for actually producing a diagram. Holding the cake together in storage with an elastic band is just asking for crumbs to go everywhere, but elastic bands were different in those days – they were not rubber bands. It really depends on the nature of the cake.

I don’t quite know what, in terms of moisture retention, there is to be gained by having or not having the innards of a cake or loaf of bread exposed. Is the crust hardier? It is probably a harmless placebo for the most part. All this hassle can banished significantly by eating the whole cake in one foul swipe, of course.

With that title it would be dereliction of duty not to mention the World Cup. I will. I thought that “Let them eat Kaká” would be too predictable. When I checked I saw that someone else had already done that (albeit without the diacritic), and it was at that point that I knew for sure that I had to follow the part of my moral compass that was egging me towards “Let them eat Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite”. I went with that, before realising that it was too long and confusing, and doing a U-turn. Such a title would have led to a disproportionate amount of the title being devoted to the sporting element, forcing me to reflect this in the structure of this main body text, but still I must continue this waffle a bit longer if I am ever to achieve true balance.

Late yesterday I read a good clever funny thing that a man had written in the Observer. Curiously, it isn’t on the website, I think to sell more copies of the actual newspaper – if demand exists, I suppose I could in theory fish about the recycling bin and cheekily photocopy it onto the internet using magic, but why would I do such a thing? When I fruitlessly searched for it, I instead came across an odd scheme – those two hairy men who ride motorcycles and do food on the television (I’ve never seen it), recently taking advantage of how “bike” and “bake” are similar, have put their faces to some recipes, each recipe representing one of the countries doing the World Cup, and because it’s organised by an electricity and natural gas supply company, there is information about how much energy is needed to carry out each recipe. (Confusingly, more consumptive recipes get bigger star ratings, even though I thought it was better to use less energy.)

The PDF recipe book contains some hilarious quotations from the mouths of important people. For instance, Kevin Keegan said:

[Argentina] are the second best team in the world – and there’s no higher praise than that!

There is a disappointing video in which the game between England and the USA is retold using Lego. Don’t watch it, it’s not worth it. It’s all right, but there is no time for subtle nuances. Disappointing.

The quite good Andrew Collins has blogged a thoroughly all-right piece that I warmly recommend. It is entitled “Essay”. Is the idea that that word sounds very much like the initials of South Africa, which is where the World Cup soccer is happening? It may be a happy accident. In terms of giving a toss, I am similar to Collins, but perhaps my interest is more evenly, and so at this time thinly, spread between club and country.

If I had to wake up and not know my whereabouts like in a film or something, during the World Cup might be a good time to choose, because the flags and stuff would make it easier for me to determine my whereabouts – assuming, which I have some doubt about, that I had some choice in the matter, and that I would remember or have ever known the different flags and which countries they represent. Oddly, I have seen very few England flags yet, which rather pisses on the slippers of anecdotes about unblinkingly festooned districts. On Thursday I will go on a train to Scotland, and I should think it unlikely that much difference will be observed. (The last time I went to Scotland, there was a moment where the sound of bagpipes broke into the picnic in which I was partaking, which too would have been helpful in one of the aforementioned filmic situations. The picnic was all right, there were plums, and I remember jam. It was Easter, last year.)

It is windy in Venezuela. I haven’t mentioned biscuits either, because that would be predictable. Hooray for me. Good evening.